macroeconomic concept(s) Written Reports You are required to prepare a 3-4 page paper (double-spaced) based on articles of your choice concerning macroeconomic concepts covered in class. The paper is worth a maximum of 40 points and is due Monday, June 3. The purpose of the assignment is to link macroeconomic concepts discussed in class to current conditions and events in the U.S. economy. note: Late papers are penalized at a rate of three points per calendar day. Audience Approach the assignment as if you have been asked by a friend to explain how a particular macroeconomic concept(s) pertains to the subject matter of your chosen articles. Assume your friend is familiar with basic economic terminology but possesses no theoretical background. Finding a Topic Newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the San Bernardino County Sun and Riverside Press-Enterprise regularly cover stories of macroeconomic relevance. Time, The Economist, Forbes, Fortune, and Bloomberg Businessweek, among others, are also excellent sources. All of these titles are available in Pfau Library, either online or hard copy (or both). A computerized literature search usually is the best way to find articles on any specific macroeconomic topic, such as inflation, unemployment, or recession. Reference librarians on the first floor of the library can answer any questions you may have about locating information online or in the library stacks (further information on this topic is available at www.lib.csusb.edu/ollie/ollie.htm). [note: Web access to some magazines/periodicals is available only to paid subscribers. Pfau Library subscribes to many online sources. So, if you’re checking sources such as those listed above, check them online through Pfau Library (lib.csusb.edu) instead of trying to access them directly on the Web.] Examples of relevant topics are as follows: “ has the U.S. economy grown or shrunk over the past year? At what rate? What have been the economy’s areas of weakness over the past year or so? Have there been strengths? Is the recession over? What is the general outlook for the U.S. economy over the next 6-12 months? “ Is the widespread unemployment experienced in recent years the worst in U.S. history or have there been times in the past when the national unemployment rate was higher? What is the current unemployment rate in the U.S.? Has the unemployment rate risen or fallen over past year? What do you think the U.S. unemployment rate will be one year from now? Explain your point of view. “ over the past year has the U.S. rate of inflation been high or low? Given the fact that the Federal Reserve has been pumping lots of money into the economy and has pushed short-term interest rates to record-low levels, is the rate of inflation likely to increase rapidly in the not-too-distant future or is low inflation likely to continue? “ what’s the current status of the U.S. (national) housing market? Has it bottomed out and begun improving? How about the local (Inland Empire) housing market? What is the outlook for the national housing market for 2013? How about the IE? “ what monetary policies has the Federal Reserve undertaken in recent years to try to stabilize financial markets and the economy? Do those policy measures seem to be working? “ is the (foreign-exchange) value of the U.S. dollar considered to be weak or strong at present? Is it better to have a strong U.S. dollar or a weak dollar (or is the answer to this question more complicated)? Has the U.S. been running an annual trade surplus or an annual trade deficit in recent years? What have been the basic causes of those annual trade surpluses/deficits? Are trade deficits evidence of a weak U.S. economy? Do they hurt the U.S. economy (on balance)? “ what are the largest categories of U.S. exports? In general are those products sophisticated or not (i.e., in general are they produced by high- or low-skilled workers and high- or low-level technology)? What about U.S. imports? Are our large annual trade deficits of recent years indicative of a fundamental weakness in the U.S. economy? Support your views with macroeconomic logic and the informed opinion of economic analysts. Don’t base your views on œgut feelings unless you can back them up with credible evidence. Make sure your paper topics are macroeconomic in nature. If you have any doubt as to whether a topic you’re considering is appropriate, ask me about it. Your paper must be based on at least two bibliographic sources. Be sure to choose articles of sufficient substance and length to enable you to write at least three full pages. Articles covering just a few paragraphs are unlikely to contain enough information for you to successfully complete the assignment. NOTE: When submitting your paper, attach copies of the articles on which it is based and list those articles in your bibliography. Grading Criteria 1. ability to identify and clearly explain in your own words the macroeconomic concept(s) discussed in the articles you’ve chosen “ while it is permissible to use direct quotations from your sources, don’t overdo it. If you quote others to excess, your input into the paper is little more than finding sources. In general, when drafting your paper ask yourself how the articles you’ve chosen relate to macroeconomics. Then, in your own words, explain the relevant macro concepts and how they are applied in the articles. 2. documentation “ indicate clearly in your paper which ideas/points are yours and which come from your sources. All direct quotations in your paper must be acknowledged in footnote or endnote form or through explicit reference to your bibliography. Similarly, when you paraphrase ideas/points of others, you must acknowledge their ownership by using phrases like œSmith (the author) argues or œJones points out Plagiarized papers receive a score of zero and result in a failing grade for the course. 3. organization “ clearly state your plan for the paper at the outset and then follow through on that plan. 4. analytical skill “ do your best to analyze (as opposed merely to describing) the macroeconomic content of the articles you choose. What are the author’s main points? Do those points make good macroeconomic sense or not? 5. clarity “ while using economic terminology in moderation is desirable, avoid excessive use of jargon.